Net purchasers double

The electronic market place marches on. The number of Internet users over the age of 16 in Canada and the U.S. has reached 79 million, while the number of people buying products and services via the Web has hit 20 million, according to a new Nielsen Media Research study released Monday. The study also shows that the number of Web shoppers — people checking out or comparing products and services on the Web — is now 48 million.

Based on data gathered in June 1998, the study shows a 36 percent in the number of users 16 years or older in North America, compared to the 58 million users measured in September, 1997. During the same nine-month period, the increase in the number of people having shopped on the Web was 37 percent. The number of people making purchases via the Web doubled.

Experts note that the dramatic increase in on-line purchasing is primarily due to people realizing how quick and easy it is to shop on the Web. The impact of improved ordering and billing technologies, branding, and consumer trust built by word of mouth is also cited.

Study highlights include the facts that:

  • Seventeen percent of people of age 50 or greater — 13 million persons — arInternet users. The number of users in this age group is growing at about the same pace as the overall Internet population 16 and over.

  • Approximately 43 percent of Internet users — 34 million persons – are women.

  • Most on line shoppers (64 percent) and purchasers (71 percent) are men.